Another Arrest For Serial Stowaway Marilyn Hartman

Authorities said Marilyn Hartman left a West Side halfway house where sources said she was staying at went to O'Hare International Airport. CBS 2's Chris Tye reports.

Video Transcript

IRIKA SARGENT: Breaking news this Hour 18. We're getting new information since our 5:00 news about how police arrested serial stowaway Marilyn Hartman this afternoon at O'Hare.

BRAD EDWARDS: That's right, Irika. My sources telling me she was able to slip away from a halfway house on the West Side. CBS 2's Chris Tye live with us now with exactly what happened here. Chris?

CHRIS TYE: Brad, Irika, a very eventful day for this 69-year-old, Marilyn Hartman. It began around noon time. Sheriff's officials say she wandered away from her West Side residential facility. They know that because she's living there under an electronic monitoring bracelet. As she left, they tried calling her. That is a feature of that bracelet. She did not answer. They noticed, through software technology, that she was heading towards O'Hare Airport. They notified Chicago police here at ORD to be on the lookout, and at 20 to 2:00, they set an alarm off on that bracelet, another feature of that technology. That triggered her arrest just before 2:00 here today.

This was her destination, but this is where her day began. This is the West Side residential facility that she has lived for over 500 days. It's called A Safe Haven, a nonprofit home. Authorities telling us they have no comment on what transpired around the noon hour. All this an effort to get to O'Hare, a place she knows quite well.

We're told Hartman did not enter any secure areas here, but over the span of 17 years, she got proficient at doing just that. This is some of the grainy video of her airport visits through the years. She snuck through security over 30 times, boarding plane after plane in and out of both Chicago airports, to and from both coasts, even to Europe multiple times, all the while never holding a ticket. That is what gave her the name the "Serial Stowaway". She says desperation got her caught.

She's been in custody for nearly two years now. A plea deal was expected in the next few weeks. Now, how today's events change that is unclear. What is clear, she's always felt comfortable at airports. And she shared with Brad just this past weekend how she pulled it off.

MARILYN HARTMAN: I got by them, this is the thing that is so crazy, by following someone. They would be carrying, like, a blue bag. And the next thing, I know I get into the TSA line and TSA lets me through, and they think I'm with the guy with the blue bag.

CHRIS TYE: And so we know that she has been on a monitoring device for at least the last year living at that West Side facility. When she was on probation in 2019, she tried another one of her airport antics, and that's when the judge told her probation is over. So where do things stand right now, Brad? We are told by the sheriff's department that she is in the custody of Chicago police, but the sheriff's department is going to seek felony escape charges and try to move her back to the county jail. A very busy day for a woman that you've gotten to know quite well.

BRAD EDWARDS: Yeah. CBS 2's Chris Tye, thank you. The judge will no doubt be displeased with this. The stunning part of today's arrest, the timing. Just two days ago, my exclusive interview with Ms. Hartman aired on CBS 2. We spoke about her past brushes with the law and getting treatment for her mental illness.

MARILYN HARTMAN: I'm bipolar, and this is something I rejected for years. There was so much violence and mental illness in the household. I have a real tough judge on this case. Judge Chiampas is pissed at me for the situation in which I found myself. I want the opportunity to apologize for people who I've hurt.

BRAD EDWARDS: Ms. Hartman also told me she refused to do any in-depth interviews until she was confident she wouldn't take another illegal flight. Then today happened, a story we'll be on all night.